His Squidiness points to a real whopper of a silly article titled “Was Einstein Wrong About Special Relativity?” by Darrell Williams who is listed as a “Mathematician” and a “graduate of Arizona State University.”
You know you’re in for a “good” article when it begins
Many notable scientists such as the French mathematician, Henri Poincaré rejected Einstein’s Theory of Relativity due to it’s lack of sound mathematical procedures, absence of clearness of vision or rigorous arguments.
If by “many” he means “very few, and old guys who died in 1912″ then this is a perfectly cromulent sentence!
Reading the full article made my head hurt. Calmer debaters can wade through the stinking bag of misconceptions, but, seeing as how I’m a quantum guy, I’ll stick to the following quantum whopper (I think Burger King is introducing one of these soon):
QUANTUM THEORY: The 1919 solar eclipse experiment only demonstrated the validity of the Quantum theory, it did not verify the Relativity theory and it did not invalidate Newton’s laws. During the eclipse, the light followed a curved path due to the gravitational field of the Sun, making it appear in a shifted position different from where it was known to be. This only demonstrated that light has some of the characteristics of mass, which is the fundamental premise of the Quantum theory.
The 1919 solar eclipse referred to an eclipse wherein observations of stars near the sun during an eclipse were measured as evidence for the general theory of relativity (note I said evidence here, the poor author of the article believes that this experiment was claimed as “proof” of general relativity, which is, shall we say, a naive version of what science is and how science works.) Now it is true that an experiment which demonstrates that light is curved by a gravitational field can be taken as evidence for the mass of a photon and that such massive photons obey Newton’s laws. Importantly, the prediction for the deflection of a massive particle in Newton’s laws and the prediction of general relativity give angles of deflection which are different by a factor of two. There has been some dispute as to whether the 1919 measurement were accurate enough to give evidence in favor of general relativity (see however arXiv:0708.0685. Of course I don’t care much about the 1919 solar eclipse except to say that it was the first of torrent of verifications of that the general theory’s deflection formula is correct and Newton’s is not correct. This article is truly amazing in its view that the world of physics ended at the 1919 solar eclipse. But I have, after deep though, come up with an good explanation for this: maybe Darrell Williams is a really a time traveler from 1920! Yeah, “good explanation.”
But the big news to me in this paragraph is that a central tenet of quantum theory is that a photon has mass! The fact is that we know that the mass of the photon is less than 10-52 kilograms. And it certainly isn’t true that a “central” tenet of quantum theory is that the photon has mass. Quantum theory is happy, really, with either decision, and experimental evidence points strongly to the answer that the photon mass is zero.
It’s always interesting to see these crank diatribes and try and reverse engineer what the author could have had in his or her head when writing the sentences. Indeed, I’m most interested in knowing what was in the physics class that the author took or in the physics books the author read, which led to these misconceptions. What do you think is the origin of the above misconception? I bet it has to do with debating whether a light is a particle or a wave. Any other ideas?